Safe deliberative spaces online between refugee-claimants and the international community: Rohingya refugee use of Twitter for advocacy and deliberation

21 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2021

See all articles by Eleonore Fournier-Tombs

Eleonore Fournier-Tombs

University of Ottawa Faculty of Law Civil Law Section

Curtis Hendricks

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: August 18, 2021

Abstract

According to the United Nations, the world’s most discriminated-against population is the Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim minority from Myanmar who have been denied citizenship in their country. Today, they are largely displaced internally or residing in one of two camps in the region of Cox Bazar, Bangladesh. In order to advocate for their cause in terms of human rights and humanitarian needs, some Rohingya have turned to Twitter. This paper analyses tweets collected in August 2021 about the Rohingya cause, to understand the deliberative potential of this platform for refugee-claimants. It uses tweet metadata analysis, such as hashtag and mention analysis, along with LDA topic analysis, to analyse deliberative quality in the data. In this paper, we find that the tweets are mainly used for advocacy and have both low levels of polarisation and high levels of homogeneity. These findings diverge from analyses of other social media platforms, such as Facebook, which has been used partly for spreading hate-speech related to the Rohingya. We conclude that the Twitter platform is currently being used as an effective deliberative space between the Rohingya and the international humanitarian and human rights community, especially when it comes to advocacy.

Keywords: rohingya, social media, deliberation, digital democracy, Myanmar, Twitter

Suggested Citation

Fournier-Tombs, Eleonore and Hendricks, Curtis, Safe deliberative spaces online between refugee-claimants and the international community: Rohingya refugee use of Twitter for advocacy and deliberation (August 18, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3954252 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3954252

Eleonore Fournier-Tombs (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa Faculty of Law Civil Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Dr
Ottawa
Canada

Curtis Hendricks

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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